How Long Will Canned Food Keep
Safety is one measure. Quality is another. As long as your seal lasts—which can be for years—canned food is safe to eat. But every year it sits on the shelf, you lose quality. You lose color, texture, taste, and nutritional value even though it's still safe to eat. With the passage of years, jars may lose their seal and the contents truly spoil, although they can last surprisingly long.
I think the best way to proceed is to plan so you eat up during the winter everything you canned the fall before. That way you can eat from your garden in the summer and from your garden via your various food-preservation systems, including canning, during the winter and have all your preserved food of the very best quality. If you manage correctly, you'll polish off the last jarful as the new garden is starting to produce.
May 18,1976. I've been writing this book for 6 years now. I don't have a baby anymore. Sara just had her third birthday, and Luke is 4. Becca is ready for the first grade next fall, and Dolly will be 12 in a few weeks. Danny is a dignified young man of 8. This seventh edition has been a long time coming, longer than any of the others. This year and the year before, it seems like I've done everything but write. Last summer was my first attempt at a School of Country Living. Afterwards I had a lot of bills to pay.
I went back on the road with all 5 children and me living in the van and going from town to town all around the whole United States. Julaine was setting up appointments for me from Los Angeles, and we kept in close touch on the telephone. Darlene, Diann, Ivy, Kay, and the crew back at the Living Room Mimeographer in Kendrick were standing by to make and mail the books they hoped I'd create orders for. Mike was lonesome at home taking care of the big zoo of domesticated animals we had developed for the School and the stock cows that were to eat the grass crop. I didn't get on any big national shows because I wasn't that important, but Julaine could generally get local TV, radio, and newspaper interviews for me in the smaller towns, where big-star types didn't bother to go.
So I'd do about 5 cities a week, working all day. A typical day would be maybe 2 TV shows, 2 radio shows, and a newspaper interview. I'd get done about four o'clock and then in the evening drive a few hundred miles to the next town, with laundromat and grocery store stops as needed. We were so desperate for money to pay the bills I'd run up over everyone's dead body, trying to make my School go, that I just couldn't ask them for money back in Idaho. So I literally peddled my way. When I had a live show, I'd suggest that folks could meet me at the public library or a downtown park or some such, and I'd show them my books for sale and pictures of the School and pass out my free brochures. When I got low on both gas and cash and had no live interviews, I'd set out with a couple of books and knock on bookstore doors or pass out brochures to whoever was around until somebody bought one. I traded books for gas in gas stations, sold one to a stranger whom we asked for directions, and got a bath when somebody invited us home.
Many a morning I washed my hair in the sink of a TV station bathroom before the show. The plumbing plugged up in the van, and all through the Midwest we stunk worse than a load of upset skunks. And we practically died of asphyxiation from the fumes when I ignorantly mixed ammonia and lye trying to clean the toilet. Finally we completely quit using the thing, and it composted naturally and was done. I was grubbier and tireder as every day went on. "Sparkle, Shirley!" I'd remind myself as the lights came on. And in true show business style, I'd sparkle through the show as best I could and then drag myself back to the parking lot.
But now the poor old van was getting sick. And without Mike, who had always changed my tires and oil and fixed engines for me, I was helpless. I barely made it through the Holland Tunnel, and the engine died at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and something-or-other street right in downtown Manhattan. I gave my next-to-last dollar to some fellows to push it out of the intersection onto the curb. Somebody stuck their head in the window and asked, "What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to sleep," I answered.
He looked dumbfounded. I was too tired to care. It was the middle of the night and I'd been fighting that engine all afternoon. It had taken me 3 jump starts with long waits between to get into New York City, where I had a show to do the next day. I crawled in the back and we went to sleep. In the middle of the night, somebody tried to crawl in a window of the van. When I raised myself up and stared at him, he looked more scared than I and ran away I went back to sleep.
The next day there in New York City, we got to do the "To Tell the Truth" show, and that was a good respite. They fed us and bought us a room in a fine hotel. The children bounced on the beds and played in the bathtub and drove the hotel staff crazy. There was only one other show to do in New York, because nobody else had wanted me. That was a sort of blessing, for on the whole this trip was much busier than the one before had been.
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